WASHINGTON Russia's failure to take steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine is "regrettable" and the United States is ready to respond quickly following a referendum planned for Sunday on whether Ukraine's Crimea region should join Russia, the White House said on Friday.
"We have obviously not gotten to a situation where Russia has chosen to de-escalate, where Russia has chosen a path of resolving the situation peacefully and through diplomacy. That is regrettable. We will have to see how the next several days unfold," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a briefing.
"We stand ready to respond should the referendum go forward on Sunday," Carney said. Asked how soon the response would come, he said, "I think without putting too fine a point on it, I'd say quickly."
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Chris Reese)